Title: Crossing Paths
Fandom: Harry Potter, Batman TAS, Justice League (very little)
Pairing: Hermione Granger, Bruce Wayne 'Batman'
Categories: Crossover, xover, AU, Drama, Action, Crime, Romance, het, gen
Summary: Hermione Granger was not the type to journey without an end destination in her career or private life but to appease her grandmother she found herself in Gotham where she stumbled into an unexpected situation involving a magical dragon statue and a Muggle businessman/costumed hero.
A/N: EWE for B7 Deathly Hallows. Please excuse any discrepancies from canon. Consider this fic as AU.
Rating: R, some innuendo
Warning: Purists may scream Batman is OOC. Remember folks… Fanon not canon, Fanfiction. Most of what I draw from DCverse is from the cartoons, not the comics.
Disclaimer: I do not own Hermione Granger, Harry Potter and co (J.K. Rowling does) and I do not own Batman/Bruce Wayne, Gotham, et al, (DC Comics, Bob Kane, Warner Bros and other companies do).
For: LJ Community hgcrossovers – Hermione Granger Crossover Exchange 2010
* Word Set A: dragon statue, crow, trousers, lie
* Word Set B: friction, trump card, button, honesty
* Situation or Quote A: Tuesday (n) in which the unusual usually happens.
Summary: Their first meeting was not exactly promising. She thought he was a wastrel though she quickly realized he had hidden depths.
A/N: EWE for B7 Deathly Hallows. Please excuse any discrepancies from canon. Consider this fic as AU.
~ooO Crossing Paths (1) First Meetings Ooo~
Bruce Wayne ignored the growing hum of speculative whispers and pointed glances. His attention was focused on one particular woman. She was examining a particular piece on display; a solid dragon carved from rare blue jade with scanty provenance. Officially it was on loan from a businessman of questionable ethics. Batman Knew Angelo Bellucino fronted for certain Gotham Criminal Families; proving it in a court of law was something else altogether.
She was bending over the velvet ropes that kept everyone attending the Gotham City's Natural History Museum gala event from getting too close to the rare displays. The action caused the silky black material of her dress to stretch across her back and hips. It was a very old-fashioned garment, dated, almost puritanical in its cut. A bodice cut close to the body but not tight, long draping sleeves that gathered tight below the elbow and fitted tightly around the forearms to the cuffs by rows of cloth covered black buttons. The skirts flowed gently over broad curvy hips in full flares that ended mid-calf. Unlike most women who wore stilettos and sandals She wore black leather low-heeled dress boots decorated with small silver studs. The tops of the boots were high enough to disappear under the hem of her skirt. She had light brown hair streaked with gold and chocolate twisted and braided into a coronet that wrapped around her head.
What did her face look like? As though in response to his thoughts, she turned to speak to one of the museum curators. Her new position gave Bruce a clear view of her front.
Her dress was as plain from the front; it had a high stand-up collar and a line of buttons to a point below the breastbone. The waistline was low and v-shaped, the point where the skirt began flowing fully around her legs. She was attractive but not beautiful with strong defined features. Arching fly away dark brows, high cheekbones, a straight nose, full mouth, stubborn looking defined chin. The only jewelry she wore were a pair of crystal and jet chandelier-style earrings dangling down almost to her shoulders.
"See someone interesting?"
Bruce glanced at the woman who had made her way to his side. A journalist.
"Miss Gleeson." He spoke in careful neutral tones.
Summer Gleeson was not dissuaded.
"Any quotes Mr Wayne? On the gala? Your current girlfriend? Your date?"
Bruce gritted his teeth. Reporters were a nuisance but they were a necessary evil and useful tool in maintaining his cover. So he smiled a bland charming smile and mentally prepared to rattle off one of his many memorized rote responses.
Hermione Granger stifled a sigh at the familiar piercing voice. Isabelle Vandermeer could be as ear piercing as Molly Weasley. But she was a good friend of grand-mama and Hermione had Promised to be a good houseguest.
The heavily made-up gray-haired society matron pouted. Not a very attractive expression on a sixty-plus Muggle woman.
"Hermione, you Must call me Isabelle."
Hermione demurred. "Oh I cannot. It would be most rude."
"What is rude is your continuous attempts to avoid my introductions Hermione." Pale blue eyes sharpened. "Melisande would be unhappy to hear that. She specifically asked me to make sure you socialize. She said you had a tendency to get over-involved with work. And from what I have seen she is quite right."
Hermione coughed. "Yes, well, Grandmother knows I like learning about new things and research. I would not have chosen it as a career if I hated it."
The society matron sniffed. "Nonsense. You are here in Gotham to relax and enjoy culture! Not to work! I don't see how exciting it can be! You haven't said anything about what you do!"
Hermione wished she had refused the invitation. In wizarding society it would have been much easier to avoid social events and questions. Everyone knew she worked for the Department of Mysteries as a researcher. Everyone knew Unspeakables were oathbound to never speak of their work. A convenient lie to avoid questions. Well Unspeakables were oathbound but Hermione was not an Unspeakable. Not entirely.
"I cannot speak of it Isabelle." Give in on one point, divert attention from the rest. "My employers pay me for my discretion."
"You cannot tell me anything?" The older woman wheedled.
"Well, I do data mining and analysis. I look for patterns, trends, and make extrapolations."
"Oh! Do you use computers?"
"Yes." It was the truth. One of her first personal research projects involved investigating methods to shield and power electronics such as laptops in a magic saturated environment. No one knew she had succeeded and Hermione intended to keep it that way. Knowledge was power and she was not willing to risk the wrong sort getting their hands on it. Besides, if wizards really wanted to learn about Muggle ways they should talk to Muggles and walk in the Muggle world.
Isabelle sighed seeing she would not get any more detail from the tight lipped younger woman.
"Come along dear. I want you to meet some very nice gentlemen."
She wrapped her hand around Hermione's wrist and began tugging the younger woman along.
"Isabelle! I really don't want to meet anyone else! I've forgotten half the people you've introduced to me!"
A lie. Hermione had a photographic memory. It was just that she wasn't interested in people Isabelle liked. The socialite type. They reminded her of Slytherins and snobby Ravenclaws.
"And I really want to get a closer look at that dragon statue. It looks interesting."
It was interesting. In fact it did not belong in a Muggle museum. The jade statue was a wizarding relic. Hermione spotted few runes carved into the body of the dragon itself. The translations of the visible runes were not very reassuring and she was certain there were others hidden. Hermione desperately wanted to do a more thorough investigation of the artefact, to get as much information as possible before approaching the American Aurors. Both American and British Aurors were always reluctant to interfere in Muggle matters without overwhelming proof of magical involvement.
Isabelle grinned slyly. "If you want to examine the statue up close I know someone who can arrange that for you."
Hermione perked up. "Really? Who?"
"Follow me. I'll introduce you to him."
Hermione allowed herself to be tugged along, through the crowd of men and women clad in expensive designer gowns and suits. Finally she found herself a few feet away from a broad shouldered man clad in an expensive tailored tuxedo. A very well cut suit given the way the trousers stretched over his bum and thighs. Idly she wondered if the front-view was as good as the back. Then he turned and she wished she had controlled her wandering thoughts because the front view was Much better than the back.
His torso was a defined triangle, something that was built and maintained through sweat and exercise, not just genetics. His suit strained to contain his mass when he moved and gestured, hinting at powerful muscles hidden behind the expensive material. Beneath the jacket the shirt front was a panel of tiny pleats, the buttons jet and silver studs. The cuffs were closed with silver and jet monogrammed cuff links. The steel band of an expensive timepiece on his left wrist glinted under the spot lightning when the cuff was pulled back by his extravagant motions. The man seemed incapable of standing still. As he shifted his weight from side to side tendons and defined muscles bunched and flexed, drawing attention to the way the wool and silk blend trouser material stretched over them. The muscles on the front of his thighs were as developed as the back. Hermione gulped and focused on the splashes of colours: matching burgundy bow-tie and cummerbund. Was his waist as narrow as the cut indicated…? No! Firmly she forced her eyes up, to his chin.
Oh Merlin! His face was as eye-catching as the rest of him. Square, sharply defined with a faint shallow cleft. Thin hard lips curved in a plastic smile. A long narrow hawkish nose bisecting a dramatic, eye-catching visage. Black-brown hair, clearly styled but looking slightly overlong. Dark cobalt blue eyes, glassy and opaque as obsidian. High slanted cheekbones accenting the planes of his face.
Absently Hermione heard the introductions being made and voiced the appropriate responses before holding out her hand. He took it and brushed a kiss against the knuckles. His fingers were strong, the tips faintly callused.
And then she paid attention to his words and tone: syrupy, condescending, patronizing, chauvinistic, air-headed, illogical, selfish, extravagant, excessive, foolish. A tension knot began to form in her belly, twisting churning and growing into a full-fledged desire to cut this arrogant foolish male down to size. And then she saw It; brief flashes of cool calculation in cobalt blue eyes, observing and cataloguing every response, his tone and words shifting to provoke specific responses. Her rage stilled and died. He was pretending. And then she realized something else. This man had secrets.
Hermione considered her conclusions then catalogued and filed them as irrelevant. Bruce Wayne was an American Muggle businessman, not someone she would be interested in. But he was So attractive! She hated it! She hated the way he made her pulse trip, her tummy quiver, her blood race. She inhaled deeply, trying to regain her equilibrium, and regretted the action. It only filled her nostrils with the scents of Him: musk, citrus, bergamot. She struggled to control her body reactions, reflexively slipping into a meditation routine to exercise and control her magical aura and reactions.
Bad idea. Bruce Wayne jumped the moment her aura touched him. Odd, she hadn't pegged him for a squib. He probably had a magical ancestor a few generations back. Curious she narrowed the touch to test the edges of his personal aura and regretted it.
His aura slapped hers down reflexively, tangling and knotting with the tendrils she had sent out. He was not a wizard but he had Power. Body and Spirit Energy, chi and reiki. He did not seem to control it consciously but it was so dense it flattened most external energy probes. Hermione wondered just how it had reached an advanced stage of development. The only Muggles –that she knew of– with similar developed auras were members of various religious orders or very spiritual beings. Somehow she couldn't quite see the Playboy Billionaire Prince of Gotham in monk robes or meditating on the ethereal aspects of life.
Hastily she 'tugged', thinning and splitting her aura probes, drawing back what she could and cutting the rest loose. Then she saw his curious expression. He did not clearly sense or 'see' what she did but he felt Something. And he clearly was not used to females who didn't fawn over him at the drop of a hat.
"Miss Granger? Would you like to dance?"
Exasperation, fear and irritation made her react more honestly than she had planned to.
"Not particularly Mr Wayne."
He blinked clearly taken aback by her response. Then he tried again. "Are you sure? I don't want to miss out on dancing with one of the prettiest ladies around."
This time the look she gave him was laced with amused condescension.
"Mr Wayne, do you make it a habit of lying to every female you are introduced to?"
Now he looked wary. "Why do you ask that?" Hermione noted he was trying to divert her attention without answering her question.
She waved her hand, indicating the other gala attendees. "There are other more beautiful women, women who would welcome your attentions. And your expression indicates you are really not interested in dancing."
His eyes sharpened and focused more intently on her. "I was raised to be polite Miss Granger. At an occasion like this it is courteous to ask the ladies present to dance."
Hermione nodded agreeably. "True. But next time try being more honest as well. Genuine conversation is more welcome than social lies." Her lips flattened and eyes darkened as old memories came to the forefront; memories of her first serious boyfriend, a lying cheating jealous envious red-head bastard who had tried to control every aspect of her life. He had very nearly succeeded in destroying her.
His head tilted to one side, studying her as intently as Hedwig had eyed owl-treats. "Very well then… You look like a crow among peacocks. I don't understand why you are dressing like a dowager in widow weeds. You are attractive with a good figure. If you change your wardrobe you can easily draw a lot of attention."
Hermione laughed. It was a genuine and heartfelt outburst. "Thank you for your advice but I prefer being a crow." Her expression turned animated. "You know the Aboriginals of North America consider crows to be wise and powerful totems? I met a shaman who said crows were my totem animal. He said crows teach us to be mindful of our opinions and actions. Crows are considered to be omens of change, symbols of creation and spiritual strength that merge dark and light, inner and outer. Crows are supposed to have no sense of time, seeing past present and future simultaneously." Her expression turned more solemn. "Crows are keepers of Sacred Law, they help one find a balance between Mans Law and Spiritual Law. To live with few regrets one must learn to balance our past, present, and future. We must be willing to walk our talk, speak our truths, and know our life's mission."
Then she noticed he was looking at her with a peculiar intense expression.
"I'm sorry Mr Wayne, sometimes I tend to go off topic to share something I just learned. I forget not everyone is as interested in random factoids as I am."
He shook his head. "Don't apologize. It is refreshing to talk to someone on something other than the latest on-dits." Then he held out a hand and smiled slightly. "Miss Granger, would you care to dance? You can tell me just what a British woman like yourself is doing in Gotham."
Hermione couldn't resist smiling back. It was a bright genuine expression that animated her rather ordinary girl-next-door looks into something extraordinary.
"Oh everything and nothing Mr Wayne. But I'm afraid you'll have to settle on an indefinite a rain check on that dance. I have a full day tomorrow and really need a full nights rest. I will be leaving Gotham in three days and I still a few items on my do/see list." She held her hand out. "It was a pleasure meeting you Mr Wayne." She cocked her head to one side. "You might want to try a bit of honesty in your future interactions. You might be pleasantly surprised."
He nodded slowly. "I will consider it." He took her hand and brushed a kiss against it. "Next time we meet I will take you up on that dance."
It was a polite social lie. It would be almost impossible for them to cross paths in the next three days. And then after that she would be returning to Britain, an entire ocean away. They belonged to different walks of life, different worlds, different lands.
"Good night Mr Wayne."
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